The safety of the patient is the main objective of quality control, the Ministry of Health has reminded heads of hospitals and clinics. Additionally, prescribed standards had the goal of providing the most suitable environment in hospitals for the comfort of patients, visitors and staff, the ministry said. Compliance would help to ensure that levels spelt out in its 2009 strategic plan covering areas such as patient care and staff behaviour at hospitals in the northern Emirates, over which it has jurisdiction, would be reached.
Dr Amin al Amiri, head of medical and licensing practices at the ministry, said: "The quality control department oversees all activities and procedures related to quality inside a hospital, and ensures that everything is compliant with quality standards, and that the overseer answers to the executive manager." To achieve this required the implementation of standards and benchmarks for various measures of quality in accordance with international standards.
Mr Amiri emphasised that each department had to play its part, and that they were all responsible for developing systems for identifying, analysing and monitoring risks. Things to watch for included: unexpected results during patient care, injuries and behaviour of employees and visitors, breakdown of equipment, accidents, cases that gave rise to suspicion of negligence and those that developed complications during treatment or surgery.
Containing outbreaks of contagious pathogens was yet another aspect of the quality control department's duties. Mr Amiri added that those departments in hospitals were now also responsible for developing systems to elicit the opinions of those receiving care, and to ensure that complaints and suggestions were handled within a reasonable period of time. The ministry's strategic plan aims to track the performance of health services by compiling statistics on various aspects of treatment, including recurrence of bleeding, post-operative wound infections and the use of antibiotics.